IMDb > The Maltese Falcon (1931)
The Maltese Falcon
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The Maltese Falcon (1931) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
7.4/10   2,076 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Dashiell Hammett (based on the novel by)
Maude Fulton (screen play & dialogue) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Maltese Falcon on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 June 1931 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A lovely dame with dangerous lies employs the services of a private detective, who is quickly caught up in the mystery and intrigue of a statuette known as the Maltese Falcon. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
The far sexier, precode version! See more (33 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Bebe Daniels ... Ruth Wonderly

Ricardo Cortez ... Sam Spade
Dudley Digges ... Casper Gutman
Una Merkel ... Effie Perine
Robert Elliott ... Detective Lt. Dundy

Thelma Todd ... Iva Archer
Otto Matieson ... Dr. Joel Cairo
Walter Long ... Miles Archer

Dwight Frye ... Wilmer Cook
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Det. Sgt. Tom Polhouse
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Agostino Borgato ... Capt. John Jacobi (uncredited)
Tiny Jones ... Jailbird Seeking Cigarette (uncredited)
Cliff Saum ... Baggage Clerk (uncredited)
Morgan Wallace ... District Attorney (uncredited)
Lucille Ward ... Sarah - Prison Matron (uncredited)

Directed by
Roy Del Ruth 
 
Writing credits
Dashiell Hammett (based on the novel by)

Maude Fulton (screen play & dialogue) &
Brown Holmes (screen play & dialogue)

Lucien Hubbard  uncredited

Cinematography by
William Rees (photography)
 
Film Editing by
George Marks (edited by)
 
Art Direction by
Robert M. Haas  (as Robert Haas)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Palmer Belmont .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Harry Davis .... second camera (uncredited)
Mac Julian .... still photographer (uncredited)
Frederick E. West .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Earl Luick .... wardrobe
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... conductor: Vitaphone Orchestra
 
Crew verified as complete


Production Companies
  • Warner Bros. (present) (as a Warner Bros Vitaphone Talking Picture)
DistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Dangerous Female" - USA (TV title)
See more »
Runtime:
80 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Vitaphone production reels #4808-4816 and #4781 (trailer)See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Ruth displays the envelope while on the couch, she is shown in one shot beginning to stand up with it in her right hand. In the next shot, it has switched to her left hand.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Sam Spade:Bye-bye, honey. I'll see you later... Effie!
See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

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61 out of 68 people found the following review useful.
The far sexier, precode version!, 13 July 2004
Author: overseer-3 from Florida

I got such a kick out of this filmed version of Dashiell Hammett's detective novel that I think I was grinning from ear to ear throughout the movie. Because it was a pre-code film it was much more open to the sexiness of the original novel, for instance here we have Miss Wonderly (Bebe Daniels in the role played by Mary Astor in the 1941 version) actually undressing in the kitchen scene. In another scene, when she claims someone is following her and she is frightened to be alone, Sam Spade (Ricardo Cortez, who is much more handsome than Bogart) offers her his bedroom for the night. "You can have my bed, I'll sleep out here." She turns to him coyly from the sofa and says "Aw, don't let me keep you out." I burst out laughing. Couldn't imagine this repartee between Bogie and Astor!

Una Merkel was superb as the devoted secretary of Sam Spade. She constantly gives off the aura that she has had a physical relationship with him in the past and that some of it still hangs around even though it is essentially over (note their sitting real closely on a chair in one scene, lingeringly holding hands). Thelma Todd plays Archer's wife, who has also had an affair with Sam in the past, and she adds some more spice to the film which is already loaded with it compared to the 1941 version, which was made under the control of the Hollywood Production Code.

The other cast members are wonderful, including Dudley Digges as Casper Gutman, Otto Matieson as Joel Cairo, and Dwight Frye as the psychotic Wilma Cook. They completely hold your attention and are just as interesting, perhaps even more so, than the 1941 version actors.

I am a Bogie fan, but Ricardo Cortez steals the picture with this performance. He is a much more selfish, less noble character than Bogie's Sam Spade, and that makes him more interesting to watch on screen. For instance, in the 1941 version, Bogie's Sam Spade reluctantly gives over the girl to the police because "when your partner is murdered, you are supposed to do something about it." In the 1931 version Ricardo's Sam Spade hands her over simply because he himself doesn't want to be charged with murder. He's saving his own neck, not acting out of some false loyalty to a partner he didn't even like. In fact in this version Ricardo as Sam states firmly, "I couldn't shed a tear for Archer, dead OR alive." This is a lot more honest and realistic.

Don't miss your chance to see this early talkie gem. It is fascinating to watch on its own merits, and also to compare with the later, more famous, Bogart version.

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